Excited, Nervous, Ready for the Sleeve! - Rockville, MD

Hi, I decided this January to explore my weight...

Hi,

I decided this January to explore my weight loss options. I researched some doctors in my area & found Dr. Berry Greene, whom I really like & I like his staff as well. I'm 47 years old, 5'9" (they say 5'8" I think it helps the bmi stay a little higher) my heaviest weight was 243 at this point I am 225- 230 ish, depending on the day! My BMI is 35, so I am right on the edge of insurance covering this procedure.

I can only remember maybe 2 times in my life I felt good in my body. There was once when I was a workout junkie and spent 4 hours a day in the gym, that was hard work! And I was in my 20s! in my 30's I went through a horrible break up & stress took me down to 165! I looked hot but I was terrible unhealthy! Anyway, being close to 50 now I decided to take this route. My only co-morbidity is high bp, maybe anxiety too. I am not diabetic and I don't have sleep apnea!

I have always been a pretty healthy eater as well. I stopped eating fast food in my early 20's back when I worked out like a maniac ^. I am not a big bread, pasta, carby eater. However, I have learned to look for carbs, they are in things you would never think of ex: a delicious additive for water made by Visalus! 7 carbs per pack and I was doing 3 a day!!!

I am looking forward to getting back in the gym after this surgery and kicking my butt back into shape! I am hoping with proper weight training I can avoid having hangy skin that requires more surgery!

At first they recommended the lap band. But after many months of seeing the doctors assistant , we came to the conclusion that the Sleeve is going to be best for me. Even though I eat healthy I obviously eat too much of it! I also realized that I am a stress/boredom eater!! Evidently there is a hormone in the part of your stomach that is removed with this surgery. That hormone causes cravings and such. Take it away!!!

Now, this is my dilemma, I have not told my family (mom, dad, sister). My doc required a therapy session & when she asked me about that and I told her I had not told them she flipped out! Hey, I said, I am 47 years old and I don't need approval from anyone other than myself! My husband is totally supportive and a select handful of friends I love and trust are very supportive! My mother and sister are obese as well, my sister more than myself! And I just know they would not be supportive and possible be mean about it. Ex: " Oh isn't she lucky to be able to take the easy road out." I mean damn, insurance is covering this and I have had to pay for the co-pays at each visit, had to pay $250 to have the gall bladder removed (it had dysplasia sp? so that was a good thing) & they require $2500 at the final pre-op visit. But I have had 6+ months to save up for that! So my sister could easily have it too. I am sure when she sees how much I have lost she will ask and I won't lie but I will wait for that time~

Speaking of my amazingly supportive husband, he just said last night he wants to go on the all liquid for a week diet with me :) How awesome is that?!

One thing that scares me is the thought of hair loss!!! I have been a hairstylist for 30+ years and I take care of my hair religiously! I have been doubling up on vitamins and taking biotin and a hair skin and nail vitamin for 6 months. I am hoping it will be minimal if I do loss any. It's normal to loss some after anesthesia anyway, so fingers are crossed.

This blog is asking me to post a photo. I also do photography so I am always the one behind the camera, which keeps me out of many shots. I am also a master at cropping myself!! lol! So I just ran into my bathroom and took a few shots, minus the face ;)

I hope my story helps any of y'all that are thinking about this surgery but aren't to sure. OH and one more point. I have 2 friends that did weight loss surgery. 1 had a Bypass & 1 a Lap Band. Both have said they WISHED the Sleeve had been an option when they had theirs!

So, here I am, I hope to "find" some new friends and support here in this community~

pictures!

I hate pictures of myself!! They literally make me want to throw up!

Sleep Apnea Test

That was the worst test of all test I had to do for this surgery. I knew I did not have sleep apnea but it was a required test. So I scheduled it and went. I took 2 Xanax because they said I could & I was kind of freaking out about it! I have always had sleep issues and the room has to be dark, I need a fan running, it has to be cold, no electronics (haha, that wasn't happening). I took a small fan with me. They told me I would have to walk down the hall to the bathroom and I would have to let them know so they could unhook me from the machines. Oh and I HATE pajamas!!
So anyway, I was really tired thanks to the Xanax. They came in to start attaching wires, tubes etc. In my hair!! & all the way down my leg. That took about 30 mins. Then I had to pee again, lol, but I forgot about that and tired to get comfortable and sleep. They left the room & bam! I was wide awake, the light from the hallway was shining right in my face. Finally found a somewhat comfortable position and started to doze off, the door opens and the tech comes in turns on the light and has to re- attach a wire that cam loose. UGH, wide awake again. They logged about 1 hour of sleep, which they said was not enough to complete the study and I was going to have to do it again. I was not happy to hear that at all.
They informed me they were moving the study to a hotel and it would be more comfortable. That sounded nice, but they kept cancelling the appointment on me! I got kind of mean with them & refused to do it again. They sent a report to my doctor stating I had severe insomnia, lol.
So, if you are like me about sleep ask for medication to help you relax and try to find a doctor that does these studies in a hotel room not an office :)

Cardiac Clearance

Had my Cardiac evaluation today & my heart is looking fabulous ;) I have to go back Thursday, he wants me to do a stress test just to make sure all is good. But I am fine with that, it's kind of reassuring to know your heart, lungs & other organs are working fine~
Stopped by the Quest and had blood drawn & then got my chest x-ray! That's it for testing!! Next is the pre-op class at the hospital then my appointment with Dr Greene, a quick drive to Texas, start the liquid diet and get this done!! Yee Haw!

pretty interesting and graphic surgery video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EMlxhICaG0s

EKG, Echo Cardiogram and Stress Test Done!

That's it!! I am done with all of my tests. Just have the pre-op class and anesthesia consult left!!!
EKG took all of 5 minutes at the most. The Echo was a bit more complicated, it's basically and ultrasound of your heart. Very cool to watch but the technician had the bedside manner of a wet rag & she poked with the instrument too hard. Whatever, maybe she was having a crappy day~
The Doctor was Dr. Griffen and he was great!!
The stress test was interesting. They put you on a treadmill for about 5 mins and every minute they speed it up and increase the incline. On the last min I was into a fast, uphill jog lol. Then he STOPS it and you have to jump back on the table and he reads the machine (which is like the echo) while your heart goes back to resting heart rate. I passed!! He said I have no symptoms that would indicate risk of stroke or heart attack.
That was nice to know & made me feel better. AND that I need to work harder on the treadmill!
Hope everyone reading is doing well and have a great weekend :)

Final Countdown

Tomorrow is my last visit with Dr. Greene before my surgery. I've been really nervous the last week or so. Learning in the Pre-op class last week that I will have to do shots for 12 days kind of freaks me out, more than anything. But it's better than having a clot! The hospital stay will be at least 2 nights but she said could be 4/5. It all depends on how much liquid I can get down and keep down. 1 ounce every 15 minutes & the goal is 48-64 ounces a day! It sounds impossible but I am sure it will be easy once I get used to it. The other thing that worries me is dehydration. I LOVE water & I drink it all day. They told us what to look for and to just come in to the hospital for fluids at the first sign of dehydration.
I just ate my last bag of popcorn!! I will miss that! And I have emptied my pantry of all products that are over 5 grams of carbs! We will be gone Thursday for a week and on the trip home I start my week of all liquid. I stay home and do not want to be tempted by oatmeal, pasta, grits, canned beans etc! That stuff has been in there for a whole and I normally would not be bothered but I am scared on a liquid diet I might be to tempted!! I should send the dog to camp too, lol.
I bought a few cases of Pure Protein from Costco and some Muscle Milk(light). The MM is really tasty!! So my fridge is stocked with protein drinks, I will get SF Popsicles when we get home & more SF jello.
Family~ Well, I saw my dad last week and told him what I am doing. He seemed ok with it & asked that my husband keep him updated during surgery. I told my sister and she freaked out for a minute. She knows someone who had a bad time with it 10+ years ago. After that she was fine and supportive. I told my mother last and got the reaction I was expecting. "Do you NEED to do this?" & "why?" She has never accepted the fact that her kids are grown and don't need permission from her anymore ;)

Final pre-op visit with my surgeon

Had my final meeting with my surgeon yesterday. He took his time and explained everything to me. Really put me at ease about some of the "warnings" I had to read and sign. Which I am sure I have done with every surgery but never really read it thoroughly. But Dr. G makes us take a test to make sure we know what the hell is going on ;)
I was worried about the shots I have to give myself for 12 days after!! But he explained they are to prevent clotting ,which would be devastating & that they come pre-loaded, so all I have to do is stick myself and push the thing on top. I hate needles and shots, but I am hoping I will be kind of numb anyway. He also eased my mind by telling me he has done over 2300 of these procedures and even teaches his colleges. He has never had a death, an infection or even a return visit to the er from ANY of his patients!
So we are driving to Texas in the early morning (3am is still the middle of the night to me) and when we get back it should be the day I start my all liquid diet, for 1 week. I just cleaned out my freezer and fridge. I can't have any temptations, and yes frozen veggies would be tempting to me! Just need to get Popsicles, jello and more Almond milk when we get home~

Here we go!!

Ok guys today is the first day of my week of all liquids. We are driving home from Kentucky today ALL day! Stayed in a hotel last night and I told my husband I wanted the breakfast, which I would have NEVER have said. It's so psychological that I would want food that I never eat because I know I will never have another chance. So I woke up in a different frame of mind and had my muscle milk. I'm on my second one today and I'm good not feeling hungry at all. The Premier Protein makes me sick to my stomach so I'm sticking with muscle milk.
I feel better knowing there is nothing in my house to tempt me and my husband is off all week so I will stay busy with him.
It's getting real now!! I'm so excited!! I can't wait to shop in the skinny girl stores ????
Hope you are all well

4 days!

Hey guys,
I am now on day 4 of my liquid diet. Doing great!! There have been moments where I just wanted to eat something but I had a shake, Popsicle or jello instead. I make my own Jello and add a 1/2 scoop of Unjury unflavored protein powder. They end up being 10 cals & 5 grams of protein each. probably a 1/2 cup serving.
So, we got back home Wednesday night, Thursday went to Costco to stock up on Muscle Milk Light. Had to return the Premium Protein, as I said before it made me sick. Could be a lactose intolerance. Went to Giant and got lots of sugar free Popsicles (by the way they have Tropical flavors that rock!!) and jello. And G2 Gatorade, which you WILL need to get enough carbs to keep you from sleeping all day. Yesterday I had a bad headache and realized to late that I just did not get enough carbs.
Picked up my prescriptions. Started the antiseptic cleanser this morning and the Nystatin mouth wash and swallow. I was worried it would be nasty but it's not at all..Just weird to swallow when you use it like mouthwash. I am still freaked out by the needles and shots for 12 days but I figure if I do it when a pain pill is in full force it won't hurt that bad, huh?
Trying to get my house somewhat organized and cleaned being that NO one does it like me ;)
We found a new house to move into the first of Oct. So I am also trying to pack up, purge stuff and get estimates on moving men. Write out all the bills that need to go out Friday etc.
Can't think of anything else at the moment. I mainly just wanted to let y'all know the liquid diet is not as bad as I thought it would be. As long as you make sure you get enough protein you won't be physically hungry. You might be mentally hungry but have a shake and stay busy.
Bless you all :)

HOME!!

I had my sleeve surgery Wednesday morning. I won't lie I was scared to death about this one...It is SO life changing & life threatening if you don't follow the rule to a T!
Wednesday after the surgery ( at 1:30 pm, surgery was at 7:30 as scheduled) they took me to my private room. I don't remember a lot about this day. I do remember I was in PAIN!! Immediately I thought "omg! what have I done to myself" I was truly scared!
That night was miserable. My husband, bless his heart, stayed with me and tried to sleep on a recliner. There was a small pull out for family and about midnight I asked them to help me get up because I was so uncomfortable on the bed, mostly in my back and shoulders (gases) and in my diaphragm area, which was from the hernia repair. I took over the recliner and maybe fell asleep for an hour or 2.
I walked to the bathroom on my own the entire time which was nice to not have a catheter.
Thursday they got me up and took me down to weigh. Don't worry or be alarmed that your weight will be up from when you went in. It's the fluids and gases. I was up 4 lbs, no biggie. I know in a month I will be way down.
Also Thursday I had to start drinking liquids..ugh..this was not easy!! At all! I think Thursday I had a total of 13 ounces. You just feel FULL so fast, which is the point right ;)
Friday it was better! I got 36 down before I left the hospital at 9ish pm. It was not "easy" per se but easier than the day before. Still had to finish 8 more ounces of G2 before I went to bed, so I was up till midnight.
So, today is Saturday. It was difficult to swallow some of my pills last night but then I remembered a nurse telling me to keep my chin down not back and that made a huge difference. I still have this weird headache!! But my liquids are going down easier today than yesterday :). I see a pattern here!! I've had 17oz so far. Don't rely on water so much y'all get G2 Gatorade, you need the carbs and stuff in it!! You also must keep track of your intake!
Pain~ hmmm, standing up after sitting for a while I am a bit stiff and it takes a few to straighten up, but really the worst pain was in my shoulders, back and diaphragm. I was off the morphine drip by Thursday at noon. I am still taking Oxcy at home. And the Lovenox shots are nothing to worry about! They really don't hurt!!
I can't think of much else. Oh the hospital tried to give me a breakfast that was eggs, toast, juice and such. I told them that was not for me & then one night they brought me a tray with a salad, meat etc..again I said "I can't have that". So you have to watch your own back!! You can take your own shakes, the one they had there was just TOO sweet and the broth...omg, gag!
I took a picture of my stomach and cuts this morning. It's not as bad as I thought it would be, I can tell where he pulled out the stomach.
Ready to be healed and start living a normal thinner life!!

Day 4 after surgery

I can't believe it's only been 4 days! I feel like a different person today. The headache I had for the last 3 days is gone, for now, fingers crossed. And I slept ALL night!! Even slept on my stomach! Liquids are going down easier. I got in 50 ounces of liquid yesterday. Walked our hallway "block" 4 times (twice around each time) and climbed a flight of stairs 2 times. I just charged up my FitBit and will wear that today.
My follow up with Dr. G is tomorrow :)
I feel good y'all!!!

Day 6 after

I had my post op appointment yesterday and all went well~ I am thrilled to say I am down 15LBS since Sept 4th!! Sipping slowly is not as easy as it sounds lol...I have to remind myself to slow down. I wondered what I was to do while driving to my appointment, I did not want that much time to pass without my ounces of liquid. My husband said I needed to carry my little "cup" hahaha, that isn't happening in my car. So I took an 8 ounce water bottle and just took sips figuring that whole bottle should last me 2 hours. Linda said it was fine to do that.
Took my husband out for dinner at our favorite neighborhood restaurant also delivered warm cookies to my friends who work there. I sipped on water. Made sure I had a couple ounces of my Muscle Milk before we went. I was also totally proud that I made 2 batches of cookies and was NEVER even tempted to lick the spoon or taste any of it :)
Enjoying my "breakfast" now. Chocolate Unjury with skim milk, yummm!! By the way, I was having trouble getting carbs and fats so they told me to add skim milk to my shakes.
Have a great day every one

Day 13 after

Another appointment with my PA Linda yesterday and I am down 8lbs since last Monday!!! It still has not sunk in that I have actually lost that much already. But I love it!! Went through my closet (which is the only place I tend to hoard) and tried on clothes I have been saving "till I lose weight" cause I love them. And almost everything fits!! So I won't have to shop for a while. Hopefully I can find bargains at Ross and places like that until I get to my final weight. I have a lot of drawstring and elastic waist skirts so those are easy to take in. I can't wait to fit into my "skinny" jeans..at least they were skinny to me. But right now nothing can rub or touch my belly button :(
My BP was really low yesterday so I am OFF my meds for that!!! YAY!!

Thank God for drawstrings!!

My pants were falling off today!! Had to tighten the drawstring!

29 days after surgery

Feeling great!! Jeans fit, shirts I have been saving fit and some of the clothes I was saving for "when I lose weight" are TOO big!! I got to stop taking high BP meds, I feel awesome, sleep better. Eating can be a challenge..some things just don't want to stay down. I am best with tuna or salmon (in the bag) mixed with cottage cheese. I've been out and had an ounce of Sea Bass which was delicious. Have not really had room for veggies but I am emailing my nutritionist now. I find too that if I take my chewable vitamin to close to food it makes me sick.
We are moving into our new home tomorrow and I am beyond excited!!
I hope everyone is well, recovering or preparing for the next chapter in your lives.
Take care :)

Praise to my scale today

I got on my new scale this morning and it said 200!! And I was beyond thrilled. I remember the last time I was below 200 and it was a LONG time ago. I am so ready to keep dropping and get back to the "original" me. I feel awesome!! I still feel "fat" and really don't see the loss when I look in the mirror. I do see the clothes that fit and I feel more confident and comfortable in them. But I guess we always see ourselves that way huh? I bought 3 shirts at TJMaxx today that were just L not XL or 1X and that felt amazing!! Here's my most recent picture but it was 1 week ago when we were packing to move. I was happy to fit into the shirt I am wearing. It's been in my closet for a year!

8 weeks after

Sorry, I am so late at posting. We moved 3.5 weeks ago and I have been busy!! I just had 2 count 3 times in my calendar, I can't believe it has only been 8 weeks since my surgery, it feels like it has been longer.
I'm doing good. Cleaned out my closet 2 times already. I am kind of stuck between sizes I had saved for the "I'll fit into them again" days. I should be able to wear the next pile in a week or so. The "skinny" ones I can get on and buttoned, which is amazing but they are still to tight to keep on, ya know. But the last batch I passed right through...they did not fit one week and were to big the next! I am not complaining at all!!
My scale said 193 yesterday and I screamed with excitement!! I have not been below 200 in so long and tome 193 is way below!
Cleared to eat chicken a week ago and I have had some, I prefer fish, and i had a .11 lb salad yesterday! It was delicious!! I think it cost 25 cents, lol.
I am going to start drinking a "greens" shake everyday as soon as it comes from amazon. I used to eat lots of veggies & I feel like I need them...I know I must fill on protein first so I figured in between a green shake would be fine.
I had an issue with constipation & real bad pain accompanied with it! They told me I could take Colace 3 times a day everyday and explained it is just oil, so I started using my liquid fish oil 2 x per day and it seems to have helped.
I will get physically sick if I eat too fast or too much..even 1 bite too much! I have learned to NOT do that.
Oh and I have started working out with Jillian Michaels. Her 6 week six pack and Shred it with Weights kick my butt!
Still don't have the family support I was so hoping for but not really expecting. I have lost 50lbs since January when I started this journey. 25 before surgery and 25 since~
Hope all are well, I am headed back to unpack or hang a picture :)

Vitamin C

My husband, my son and his family all seemed to be coming down with nasty colds/viruses. That is the last thing I want to deal with...ever...So I bought some "gummy" vitamin C's. DO NOT try them! Chewable yes but not gummies. I was thinking 'Oh I can chew it up so that is good', but those things do not chew down...They made me throw up.

3 months after

Feeling great!! I am finally seeing the difference in myself, still have a ways to go and work to do but this is the first picture in a long time I am ok with... I am posting this pic that was taken yesterday,the faces have been blocked to protect the innocent ;)
I am on the left~ the tall one~

11.5 weeks after

Still going strong!! Got on the scale and was down to 184!!! I can't believe how fast this is happening and I love it!! This was the best thing I have done for myself... ever!! It felt so good to make the healthiest choices possible at Thanksgiving dinner (turkey and Brussel sprouts). Even tasted my granny chocolate chess pie, just 1 tiny bite..it was good but I was not even tempted to eat a whole piece. In the photo above I was 197! I am thinking by the next time I step on my scales I will be in the 170's and I will have to go clothes shopping!! YAY!

19 weeks after

Wow, 19 weeks does not sound like that long. But at this point I feel like I never had surgery. In a good way. I am keeping portions under control and I am eating mostly proteins and vegetables. I stay far away from carbs and processed/packaged foods! I am now in a size 12 jean!! I about fell over when they fit!! It's been so cold I have not been walking much but we live in a 3 floor condo and I do climb/run the stairs and have been doing various exercises, planks, burpees, pilate situps etc.
I have noticed when I get stressed I think about food...but I don't give in. And my mothers house is a complete danger zone!!
Other than that all is well & I have been clothes shopping. I am own to 179/180 and love it!! I have not felt this good in years!

It's been 1 year and 1 day since my life changing surgery

Howdy folks. I have not posted here in a long time!! I hope you are all well & THIN :) My husband and I are in the process of building a brand new home and I am so excited. This is some stressful stuff & I would totally be gaining weight if I had not done the sleeve a year ago. Reformed stress eater here ;)
Anyway, I found a gym I like and worked with a trainer for 3 months. Did not really lose weight but definitely gained muscle and core stability. Now I am TRX training and doing Hard Core, Hard Drive and Pilates classes.
I am hovering around the 73 lbs lost area. I would like to lose 20-30 more but if I don't I am ok with where I am. I like that the workouts are helping with the "muffin top" and other "fatty" areas that women in general struggle with. I am 170...give or take...got down to 167 for a minute, lol. Even lost 5 lbs on a vacation to New Mexico last month.
At this point, sometimes I forget that I even had surgery! I cancelled my follow up visit with the doc and rescheduled for a few weeks out just because we now live an hour + south of DC/MD and I REALLY HATE driving North!! I would really like to see Dr Greene and thank him for changing my life but they said the appointment could be a few hours if I wanted to wait to see him.....That is a bit disappointing, you would think he would want to see his patients at least 1 time after surgery. Not sure if I posted this earlier but I DID have to see him when a stitch started coming out of my skin ;) yeah! Gross I know but I have been known not to dissolve them before.
Let's see what else.....I still can't eat big portions of anything and that is good. I FEEL my full every meal!! And I stop eating as soon as I feel it! Some days, especially if traveling I use Muscle Milks just like I did when fasting and after the surgery and it feels like my stomach shrinks up so even 2 bites fills me.
OH and this is awesome!!! My husband bought me a beautiful Crystal Red 2011 Grand Sport Corvette!!
Hope to keep up on this blog again. It really brought back memories reading my old posts.
And I hope to see some of your success stories.
Take care y'all :)

August 2014

Just wanted to add this picture. I felt really 'skinny' that day ;)
Rockville Bariatric Surgeon

I love Dr Greene and his staff!!

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